Recess at DAA!

DAA is a public urban school. However, we differ from many other schools in the various ways that we work to develop and educate the “whole child.” One of those ways is our philosophy on the importance of students having recess….TWO recesses at that!

DAA Teacher: “How’s things going for you at your school?”

Traditional Teacher: “With all the pressure from administration to meet our yearly achievement goals, I am STRESSED and that’s an understatement!” Sometimes, I just want to skip recess or gym. That time is cutting into the students’ instructional time.”

DAA Teacher: “Really? I cannot imagine cutting recess. The students literally need to have recess!”

Traditional Teacher: “I guess, you’re right! But I’m sure you could imagine how much more time can be spent actually teaching though. We have pretty ambitious goals for our students to achieve on the M-STEP and NWEA MAP assessments. Literally every minute counts!”

DAA Teacher: “We have ambitious goals for our students to achieve too.  We just believe that the advantages of having recess is huge part of that as well.”

Traditional Teacher: “Don’t get me wrong, I believe recess is important and all. But I’m just thinking about how to optimize my time with the students.”

DAA Teacher: “Yea but that time spent during recess is a necessary mental break for them with such a long day…that’s why we have two recesses everyday.”

Traditional Teacher: “TWO recesses???? Here it is, I’m thinking of ways to cut our ONE recess from 20 mins to 10 mins, and you’re telling me that you all give each student two recesses everyday.”

DAA Teacher: (awkwardly) “Uh….yea. It works for us! It helps us to truly develop the whole child- socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively.” And it’s supported by global research!”

Traditional Teacher: “Really? But you don’t feel pressure to spend more time teaching and working with the students academically?”

DAA Teacher: “Yes, I feel that pressure. We all do. However, that pressure is eased as students are more excited about finishing their high quality work right before recess. That pressure is also reduced when I notice that students collaborate better in academic groups because they’ve had ample time to collaborate often during recess. Finally, that pressure is almost eliminated when I notice that students are paying more focused attention during instruction because they had at least 2 chances to release their excess energy and antsy movement.

Traditional Teacher: “Wow!”

DAA Teacher: “I find that those mental, social, and physical breaks force both students and teachers to be more intensely focused and productive during instructional time- hence an overall less stressful educational experience for all involved.”

Traditional Teacher: “That’s fascinating!”

DAA Teacher: “And guess what? The students are still showing significant growth on all of the mandated school-wide assessments.”

Traditional Teacher: (smiling) “Well hey. Sounds like I need to be trying to adopt some of DAA’s philosophies in my own classroom. Thanks for sharing!”

DAA Teacher: “Anytime! I can share some of the research that supports what we do if you want.”

Traditional Teacher: “Ok. That would be helpful!”


Resource 1, Resource 2, Resource 3, Resource 4